Holy Week carries us to a garden where a radical, traveling teacher commands his friends to resist sleep at the time they most long for rest.
Remain with me. Be alert. Stay awake at the "wrong time."
He has washed their feet, shared a meal with them, spoken many mysteries about betrayal and denial and a feast to come. Now, it is dark outside, and the darkness beckons them to sleep. As the teacher steps aside for a private conversation with an unseen Other, the friends whisper among themselves, between yawns, "What is happening?"
They do not realize they've slept until he calls to them. They stumble through the liminal space between sleep and waking, as their minds try to catch up with their senses. What's that on his forehead? Sweat? No, too dark. It's blood.
"What happened?" they ask each other.
Again, they do not realize they've slipped into sleep until his presence jolts them to attention. He says something about betrayal. He commands them not only to wake up but to get up. "Is this all a dream? Please be a dream..."
They stumble to their feet, blood rush to the brain causing them to stumble. They reach to each other for support. Their eyes adjust to the soft light of the moon, searching for him. They feel the vibration of footsteps from the east, and here comes their treasurer leading a crowd of angry soldiers.
"Please be a nightmare."
Only after the adrenaline of running from the mob pumps through their veins are they truly awake. Fear has their eyes wide open, and they will not close again for three days.
They will not close until they see him again.
They will not close until the tomb is open.
They will fulfill his command to watch and pray.
They will stay awake at the "wrong times" until the right time of his rest comes.
The rest of his risen-ness.
The rest that conquers death's sleep.
The rest that will close their eyes not in weariness but in restoration of all that is "right."
all good things to each of you,